Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 4, 2014

Howard H. Baker Jr : 1925-2014

Howard H. Baker, Jr.

Baker Donelson last week announced the passing of former Tennessee senator, presidential advisor, and ambassador Howard H. Baker Jr., senior counsel to the firm. Senator Baker, 88 years old, died June 26 from complications following a stroke he suffered on Saturday, June 20.

In 2005, following a distinguished public service career spanning 40 years, Senator Baker rejoined the firm his grandfather founded, and where he formerly practiced with his father, the late U.S. Rep. Howard H. Baker. Senator Baker focused his practice on public policy and international matters.

“As a firm, we are devastated by the news of Senator Baker’s passing, and offer our support to his family during this time. He was truly a visionary leader with a servant’s heart, and made everyone around him feel comfortable. While this is certainly a sad time for all who knew Senator Baker, I am confident that his example of providing wise counsel and his commitment to clients, colleagues, and the betterment of the world around him will continue to thrive in the culture here at Baker Donelson,” said Ben Adams, chairman and chief executive officer of the firm.

“The Senator helped shape our nation’s laws with his sense of justice and his desire to have all people’s views heard. I am privileged to have been his friend and to have built a firm along his side that embodies his principles,” said Lewis R. Donelson, III, co-founder and senior counsel of the firm. Donelson, who has been active in politics through his involvement at the local, state and national levels, chaired many political campaigns, including for Senator Baker.

Senator Baker started practicing law in 1949, and in 1966 began his distinguished public service career, which included several notable accomplishments. In 1966, he became the first Republican popularly elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee. In 1973, Baker gained national recognition as vice chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee. In 1976, he addressed the Republican National Convention as keynote speaker.

In 1976, Baker served as a delegate to the United Nations. In 1980, he ran as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. In 1982, he received the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Performed by an Elected or Appointed Official.

In 1984, Baker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. The following year, he concluded his Senate career after two terms as majority leader (1981-1985) and two terms as minority leader (1977-1981). From 1985 to 1987, he served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Board.

From 1987 to 1988, Baker served as President Reagan’s Chief of Staff. From 1988 to 1990, he served as member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. He also served on the board of the Forum of International Policy, and was an International Counselor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In 2001, Baker was appointed to a four-year term as the 26th U.S. Ambassador to Japan by President George W. Bush. In 2008, he received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers from Japan, the country’s highest honor for civilians, recognizing Senator Baker’s contributions to enhancing the friendship and understanding between Japan and the United States. He also received American Lawyer Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award and was recognized with the United States Capitol Historical Society Freedom Award.

“Senator Baker was renowned and honored for his extraordinary ability to cross party lines for the greater good of our country. He was a remarkable conciliator who was respected in Washington like no other, and he helped navigate our country through some of our greatest challenges,” said Scott Campbell, senior public policy advisor and managing director of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Campbell also serves as the president of the Howard Baker Forum, a public and international affairs affiliate of the firm that is committed to a variety of programs and research projects that examine and illuminate public policy challenges.

Baker also authored four books: “No Margin for Error” (1980); “Howard Baker’s Washington” (1982); “Big South Fork Country” (1993) and “Scott’s Gulf” (2000).

Baker is survived by his wife, former U.S. Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum, his son Darek, his daughter Cynthia and four grandsons.

Source: Baker Donelson